Canon PowerShot A810 Review

January 25, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The PowerShot A810 is the entry-level model in Canon's extensive range of compact digital cameras. Priced at £79.99 / $99.99, the A810 features a 16 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 28-140mm, DIGIC IV image processing engine, 720p video recording and a 2.7-inch LCD screen. Designed for the layman, the simple functionality should prove a hit with newcomers to photography while the Live button allows more manual control over your pictures. Powered by AA batteries and compatible with SDHC and SDXC memory cards, the Canon PowerShot A810 is available in red, silver or black.

Ease of Use

It seems of late that cameras we expect to see costing around £90 - £100 are popping up at half that price. Take the Canon PowerShot A810 for example. It's a high resolution, slim camera with a decent zoom lens that sits flush in the body. It has a reasonable size screen on the back and isn't too big in overall dimensions. This should be at the higher price and a year or two ago it would have been. So what's changed? Beats us. The camera appears to be identical, if not slightly better than models we've seen at a higher price point.

The lens on the front is a standard Canon type with a 5x optical zoom range. That starts at 28mm and goes out to 140mm in 35mm format. A large chrome bezel surrounds the lens to separate it from the rest of the body. This design allows us to be more sympathetic to the fact that the lens remains black regardless of the colour of the camera. No colour coded lens: that's one thing to show the Canon PowerShot A810's price. The grip sticks out to allow the AA batteries space to be inserted. This can prove handy as it provides the camera with a built-in grip, making it easier to handle when shooting.

On the top of the Canon PowerShot A810, the first thing we notice is that the buttons are a lot bigger than is normally seen on a digital compact camera. The power button sits next to the shutter release while the zoom switch is ringed around the latter. Move to the back and this large button design idea continues through. Buttons that normally take up less than the bottom half of the space next to the screen occupy the entire section. There's no place for a thumb rest on the back, but then we think do you really need it? Arguably not and only using the camera will prove that to you personally.

Canon PowerShot A810 Canon PowerShot A810
Front Rear

These buttons are dedicated to various modes and options to ease the picture taking process. At the top, the left button starts and finishes recording video without the need for going into a menu system. Next to it is a handy Help guide to explain what different buttons mean on the off chance you don't have this review handy. Towards the bottom, the left button there accesses the playback screen where you get to watch the pictures and video you've already taken. Located next to that is the Main menu button.

These four buttons surround the navigation pad which is used when in a menu for moving up, down, left or right. When you're not in a menu you can use these buttons for other things such as macro, flash functions, changing the display of the screen or flicking between auto and modes. This latter option is a relatively new feature that Canon have added to their lower end compacts.

The Auto mode is an intelligent version. That is, it can analyse the scene before you take a picture, work out what type of photograph you're taking (portrait, macro, landscape etc) and choose the best mode for it to be in. Pressing the up button cancels this and switches you over to the other modes. From here you can choose from a line of modes including, Program, Live control, Portrait, Low light, Miniature, Toy camera or Discreet. There are many others, but it's a long list. On the surface this all looks very easy to use. Over easy, in fact as though someone has set out to make cameras as simple as is feasibly possible.

Canon PowerShot A810 Canon PowerShot A810
Front Top

The build of the Canon PowerShot A810 is a mass of plastic. The case is obviously a plastic shell including the chrome lens surround. The lens is a standard Canon lens with a 5x optical zoom fitted into it. The lens has minimal wobble even when manipulated, which is good. The screen sits sunken into the body slightly and it must have been a cost issue to make it sit flush with the body. The buttons are responsive and firm. Downsides are the flimsy plastic covering for the USB port and the battery door not having a lock on it. Especially as the batteries are AA types and can prang out when it's opened. The door has enough strength, but no stability on the hinge.

One major bonus is the metal tripod bush on the bottom of the camera. It's rarely thought of as an important part of the camera and there are ways of getting round not using it, so it's probably not THE most important part of the camera. However, to the photographer that enjoys long night shots with car trails, the tripod is a godsend. If you think you'll use it a lot, the metal bush will cope with more use and abuse than a standard plastic one that's generally seen on a camera at this price point.

Canon have spent years getting the menu system correct. The A810 has two menus that you'll use more than any others. The Function menu is accessed by pressing the Ok button in the centre of the navigation pad. It will bring up a small menu to the left of the screen with modes such as ISO, resolution, shooting mode, white-balance, self-timer and burst modes. If you want to change more in-depth modes, press the menu button to go to the Main menu. There are two tabs here, one for camera options, one for the set-up. The camera tab changes areas such as the focus frame, red-eye correction, metering modes, review time and info and i-Contrast. The latter being a feature that optimises the light in the image. It essentially neutralises contrast to enable detail to come out of dark areas and to cap burn out on highlights. The menu is a dark grey background with white lettering and orange highlighter.

Canon PowerShot A810 Canon PowerShot A810
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

From the powered off position, we managed to get the Canon PowerShot A810 switched on, focused and took a picture in a little over 2sec. An average result is around 2.5sec. The continuous shooting mode on the A810 is just that. It's not a burst mode, so don't expect a flurry of images taken in a short time. We managed eight pictures in a 10 second time period which gives an average of 0.8fps (frames per second). That's a little below par but not too much and we need to bear in mind the cost of the camera. While we can desire a super speedy continuous mode, we can't expect it.

Pressing the button with the blue arrow takes you into the playback menu. The Canon PowerShot A810 will show the image full screen and you can amend the amount of  information you wish to display. You can choose between no information, basic info such as the resolution, date & time and file number. There's also the option to include advanced information such as the ISO, aperture, shutter speed, metering mode and exposure compensation. Flicking the zoom switch to zoom out and the you can view them as thumbnails and this happens four times, although by then they're not as easy to see.  Zooming the other way will magnify the picture you're currently on. In the menu, playback has it's own section with some basic editing features such as red-eye correction and i-Contrast.  There's also a print tab which allows you to connect the camera to the printer using PictBridge and print in certain orders, in certain numbers. In the box, you'll get the camera, a set of 2x AA batteries to get you started, a wrist strap, USB cable for direct connection to a computer, a quick start guide and the CD software which includes the full user manual and a basic viewing and editing software program.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.


Viewing the Canon PowerShot A810 images from a normal distance on a computer, the low ISO versions look good. They're clean and sharp with no invasive colour. The type of photograph that you'd expect to see at that setting. However, on closer inspection - viewing them at full magnification - although the pictures are sharp, there's blobs of light green in the darker areas. Our sample shot shows this on the bellows of the folding camera between the lens and the pocket watch. On the other hand, the images are sharp with no edge definition, colours are realistic with just the right amount of saturation. As we move through the stages, the colour invasion seems to exacerbate, albeit slowly. It's not until ISO 400 that we see significant change in the quality of pictures.

Green noise is now rife through the darker areas while salt and pepper noise also begins an assault scattering itself all over the black and mid-tone sections of the pictures. At ISO 800, this starts to affect the edges of fine lines such as writing on a lens which begins to break down. Colours are starting to get muted as noise reduction begins to desaturate the image in an attempt to remove noise. At ISO 1600 - the top most setting - colour noise has overtaken the image and is waving a territorial flag from the battlements. Noise reduction tries to correct the problem to no avail. Green colour has taken over all areas except the most brilliant white. Image quality is a futile conversation and edge definition has disappeared.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)



If you view the pictures from the Canon PowerShot A810 at a normal viewing distance then the sharpening is certainly beneficial. However, magnifying the images simply shows up the decline in image quality that happens when even the simple sharpening takes place.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The focal length of the Canon PowerShot A810 starts at 5mm and expands to 25mm. That's a 5x optical zoom. In 35mm terms, this equals 28 - 140mm.



Chromatic Aberrations

We found a variety of instances where we thought that the Canon PowerShot A810 had suffered from chromatic aberrations. However, we think that some of the cases are lens flare so we disregarded them, giving the camera the benefit of the doubt. The samples we've chosen are definitely CA though, the contrasting green and orange lines is a trademark trait. As usual, the problem only occurs on high contrast areas and towards the edges of the frame where image quality drops off.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)



The macro facility of the Canon PowerShot A810 is 3cm although we didn't feel as though we were getting that. The centre of the frame is pin sharp but image quality does drop off scarily quick. It looks on our sample as though only around 10% of the image is actually sharp. Play this right and it can work to your advantage as a sweet spot.


Macro (100% Crop)


There's a little amount of vignetting at wide-angle when the flash is off and, while difficult to see, is also present at full zoom, although not as much. Adding flash doesn't alter the results much (with the exception of slightly lighter corners) but it does stabilise the light in front of the camera so it's not so rogue. Light does fall off to the corners the same way and at the same point.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (37mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (37mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (122mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (122mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)


To enable taking brilliant night pictures, the Canon PowerShot A810 has done away with the night scene mode and has the far superior Long shutter. This mode enables you to decide how long the shutter stays open for. You can choose anything up to 15 seconds. Focusing on the image will give a preview as the camera also exposes for the shot thinking that you're going to take a picture. This will show you whether the image will be balanced. We took our sample shot at sunrise and there's little difference in the exposure value. The great advantage this mode has over Night scene and Auto/Program is that you can control the shutter speed AND the ISO.

Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)


Night Long Shutter

Night Long Shutter (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon PowerShot A810 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 33 second movie is 84.2Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon Powershot A810

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A810

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

Canon Powershot A810

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A810

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera

Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera / Function Menu

Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera / Camera Menu


Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera / Settings Menu

Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera / Playback Menu

Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera / Print Menu

Canon Powershot A810

Rear of the Camera / Help Menu

Canon Powershot A810

Top of the Camera

Canon Powershot A810

Bottom of the Camera

Canon Powershot A810

Side of the Camera

Canon Powershot A810

Side of the Camera

Canon Powershot A810

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A810

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A810

Memory Card Slot

Canon Powershot A810

Battery Compartment


Using the Canon PowerShot A810 isn't an unpleasant experience. It's easy to use and the people that it's aimed at will be perfectly happy with how it performs. If you're looking for a camera to make you go “wow!” then this isn't one to do that. But you should know that from the price. Looking at it that way, you could see it that at this price, it is a camera that will make you react pleasantly.

Build quality is good, image quality isn't going to knock you out, but it's good for a £50 camera. Overall picture quality is pretty good apart from noise creeping in when you don't expect it and especially when you don't want it. Colours are good, though; they're realistic and not over done. Metering seems to work well unless the A810 has very bright light facing straight at it.

Reaction times of the Canon PowerShot A810 are faster than we anticipated - about half a second faster than a standard average time from any other digital compact camera. Focusing is smart and sharp. It gets to the place you need it to be and it does it relatively quickly. Ideal for those shots of the kids as they zoom around the living room making everyone laugh. Or Dad falling in the duck pond.

Areas we like about the Canon PowerShot A810 include the speed of focusing, the large buttons and the simplistic outlay. We consider this to be a perfect camera for a younger family member who may not have a working knowledge of cameras or older generation photographers who aren't as tech savvy.

At £50, the A810 is great value for money. Sure, it's not breaking any boundaries in terms of technological advancements, but it's a digital picture taking machine that has a decent build quality, a simple layout and - if you can look past the noise performance - takes decent pictures. And noise is the only area that the camera really gets let down.

If you've read the review and like the look of the Canon PowerShot A810 and the pictures that it takes, think about whether you fit into the demographic. If you do, then this is a decent camera to get.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon PowerShot A810 from around the web. »

The A810 was launched in February 2012 as part of Canon's range of PowerShot cameras, as well as the A1300, A2300, A2400 IS and A3400 IS. It is available in black and silver for around £70.
Read the full review »



Type 1/2.3 type CCD
Effective Pixels Approx. 16.0M
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour


Type DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology


Focal Length 5.0 - 25.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 - 140 mm)
Zoom Optical 5x. Digital Approx. 4x. Combined Approx. 20x¹²
Maximum f/number f/2.8 - f/6.9
Construction 6 elements in 5 groups
(1 double-sided aspherical lens, 1 double-sided aspherical UA lens)


Type TTL
AF System/ Points AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre)
AF Modes Single, Continuous (Auto mode only), Servo AF/AE¹, Tracking AF¹
AF Point Selection Size (Normal, Small)
AF Lock On/Off Selectable
AF Assist Beam Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 3 cm (W) from front of lens in macro


Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre)
AE Lock On/Off Selectable
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments.
Enhanced i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction
ISO sensitivity* AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600


Speed 1 - 1/2000 sec. (factory default)
15 - 1/2000 sec. (total range - varies by shooting mode)


Type TTL
Settings Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom


Monitor 6.8 cm (2.7") TFT, Approx. 230,000 dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of five levels


Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Slow Sync Speed Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 sec.
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation Face Detection FE, Smart Flash Exposure
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Built-in Flash Range 50 cm - 3.0 m (W) / 1.0 - 2.0 m (T)
External Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2


Modes Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), P, Live View Control, Digital IS, Portrait, FaceSelf-Timer, Low Light (4.0MP), Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Discreet
Modes in Movie P, Live View Control, Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks, iFrame Movie
Drive modes Single, Continuous, Self-Timer
Continuous Shooting Approx. 0.8 shots/sec.¹ (until memory card becomes full)²


Image Size (L) 4608 x 3456, (M1) 3264 x 2448, (M2) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 4608 x 2592. Resize in playback (M2, S, 320 x 240)
Compression Fine
Movie Length (HD) Up to 4 GB or 29 min. 59 sec.¹
(L) up to 4 GB or 1 hour²


Still Image Type JPEG compression, (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Movies MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (2 channel monaural) ]


Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)
PictBridge Yes


Red-Eye Correction Yes, during shooting and playback
Histogram Yes
Playback zoom Approx. 2x - 10x
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec. or Custom
Menu Languages English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian, Farsi, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian


Computer Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other A/V output, dedicated connector (PAL/NTSC)




PC & Macintosh Windows 7 SP1/ Vista SP2/ XP SP3
Mac OS X v10.6 - 10.7


Browsing & Printing ImageBrowser EX
Other Camera Window


Batteries 2x Size-AA Alkaline or Ni-MH Batteries (Alkalines supplied)
Battery life Approx. 220 shots¹ (with supplied batteries)
Approx. 500 shots (with optional Canon NB-3AH batteries)¹
Approx. 600 min. playback (with supplied batteries)
Approx. 780 min. playback (with Canon NB-3AH batteries)
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK800 (DC Coupler DR-DC10 also required)


Cases / Straps Soft Case DCC-490
Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Power Supply & Battery Chargers Battery Charger Kit CBK4-300, Ni-MH Batteries NB4-300, AC adapter kit ACK800 (DC Coupler DR-DC10 also required)
Other Canon AV Cable AVC-DC400


Operating Environment 0 - 40 °C¹, 10 - 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 94.7 x 61.3 x 29.8 mm
Weight Approx. 171 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)
Zoom ¹ Depending on the image size selected.
² Digital zoom available for still image and standard movie modes only. Optical zoom may not be available during movie recording.
AF Modes ¹ Some settings limit availability.
Continuous Shooting ¹ Under conditions where the flash does not fire.
² Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
Movie Length ¹ The following Speed Class memory cards are required for maximum record time: (HD) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 4 or above. (Full HD) 1920 x 1080 Speed Class 6 or above. (iFrame) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 6 or above.
² Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
Battery life ¹ Using the batteries and memory card format supplied with the camera (where included), except where indicated.
Operating Environment ¹ 0 - 35 °C when NB4-300 is used.
  • All data is based on Canon standard testing methods (according to CIPA Standards) except where indicated.
  • Subject to change without notice.
  • *Standard Output Sensitivity / Recommended Exposure Index.
  • According to ISO 12232:2006 (20th April 2006) which specifies the method for assigning and reporting ISO speed ratings for digital still cameras.

Your Comments

Loading comments…